With a passion for activism and an impeccable eye for fashion, Bailey Russell has spent her three years at Gonzaga sharing and showcasing her unique voice and style. Born in Haiti and raised in Boise, Idaho, Bailey has always kept her first home in Haiti in a special place in her heart. Serving as the president of the Black Student Union and participating in and facilitating causes such as Coalition for Dream week and My Culture is Not a Costume, she is dedicating to bettering her community and promoting her culture in whatever ways possible. An International Studies major, Bailey Russell is certainly a unique and shining light within the Gonzaga community. I had the privilege of meeting with her and getting to pick her brain about her individual and carefully crafted style.
LB: How would you describe your personal style?
BR: I would say I’m bold… but classy. There’s a very fine line between bold and trashy… I like some of Nicki Minaj’s clothing but sometimes she crosses the line and gets trashy. It’s kind of the same with Rihanna. Great style but definitely gets trashy. I like to do bold stuff but keep it classy.
LB: Having grown up in Boise, Idaho— not too far from Spokane, do you notice style differences between Boise and Spokane?
BR: Not too much of a difference.. maybe because I’m mainly on a college campus, but in general in both places everyone dresses the same. Boise is very country. Lots of cowboy boots, and jean jackets. Lots of fur coats for winter and in the summer cutoff jeans and button up shirts. And oh—cowboy hats—lots of those for sure. But I guess that is why I stand out here on campus..cause I don’t dress the same and I don’t try to be the same.
LB: What is your fashion philosophy in a statement?
BR: If it’s too tight, it ain’t right! So many women are brought down by society and told to be in a small size. If it doesn’t fit, girl, get the size bigger. If you just wear your actual size you would look so much better. Go up a size or try something else. Whether it’s pants, shirts, anything just do what looks good and fits right.
LB: Has there ever been a point in your life when your style changed or evolved?
BR: I definitely think I would say my sophomore year of college. Going to school in Boise [fashion] was all very homogeneous and I tried to hide my ethnicity and personal style. Sophomore year was the first time I got my braids in. I stopped straightening my hair—No more chemicals, and stuff like that. I started wearing more ethnic pieces. I try to wear things that are a work of art and I think those looks and ethnic styles are becoming more accepted. Sophomore year I was just like I don’t care anymore I’m going to wear pieces that represent my ethnicity and who I am. Like my head wrap. I wouldn’t have ever worn this before but now I love it.
LB: Tell me about the outfit you’re wearing now:
BR: Headwrap that is made for box braids: it keeps hair out of your face and parts it kinda like a crown
Earrings: They are their own little works of art! I don’t always wear big jewelry —but I almost always have big earrings. In high school I would get in trouble for wearing big earrings and even got sent home for wearing them. People said I looked trashy in these earrings—they said it was ghetto. But my culture made them and their beautiful so I’m going to wear them.
Necklace: I don’t normally do necklaces but I did today. It’s one of like three big statement necklaces I have.
Top: It’s so airy! I don’t remember where it’s from— I’m not really a brand person. But I like it cause it’s a grown up look but still very classy.
Skort: It’s like a skirt in the front but they’re shorts in the back so very comfortable but still cute.
Boots: My mom bought them for me a few years ago and I hated them but now I wear them every single day. And I know they look like doc’s but they’re not!
LB: What article of clothing in your opinion is essential to any woman’s wardrobe?
BR: A good black skirt. I’m not going to say a dress because some women don’t have bodies meant for dresses but skirts seem to be good for everyone. They work for the tall, petite, thick and thin. You can wear them out for the day, out to a club or with tights to work. I have like three different black skirts and they are for sure my go to.
LB: What fashion rules do you follow/ what rules do you like to break?
BR: I always follow the VPL (visible panty line) rule. It just looks so bad so I always make sure to check that there’s nothing showing. A bad underwear line means you need to change.
As far as breaking rules, I hate the no-mixing prints rule. I think that it depends on your undertones in your skin, so certain things and lots of patterns don’t wash you out. My skin is dark enough so I feel like wearing one print below and one top works for me without clashing.
LB: Who is your fashion inspiration?
BR: Its a mix. Growing up my favorite movies were 90’s movies and hip hop movies: Poetic Justice, Boys in the Hood, What’s Love Got To Do With It —and I would pull little pieces from those. I love that 90’s style so I like to mix that into my looks. But also, Victoria Beckham. Her body type isn’t mine at all but I like her look. She always looks classy; if it’s loose it still looks flattering and if its low cut its’ still sensible. I pay attention to the details. She knows her body and she knows how to dress it. She’s all for women in a world of fashion that is not made for women. She’s adamant about making dresses and pants with a little give and go for everyone. She’s dedicated to making the female fit work and I love that. And her look has evolved… she’s admitted that she used to dress in a very different way and I can see that too. I can only imagine what it’ll be like to look back on myself and my fashion years from now.
LB: Favorite stores?
BR: Banana Republic. It’s definitely out of the normal college price range but their sales are affordable. They have a great petite section so I love that. It’s really hard for me to find clothes for my body cause I’m 4’9.. and I don’t want to harp on, I know every woman struggles in her own way to dress her body, but the petite sizing and my frame is what I deal with. I also love Forever 21 because you really have to look through things but you can find some great pieces. It’s very affordable. A big thank you to Bailey for taking the time to tell us about your style and approach to fashion! If you or anyone you know would be good for fashion spotlight, let us know! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org we love getting your input and feedback!
Categories: GU Style Spotlight